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Feb 10, 2013 09:03 AM

Best butter in Boston

I'm trying to make Kouign Amann, which is greatly affected by butter quality. What's the best butter, available here, for making great pastry? And where is it available?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. have you tried pulgra? I think it is US made but with european butter fat quantity. The folks at Anson Mills recommend it and I love their recipes.

    at whole foods it is not with the rest of the butter but in the refrigerated cheese case, next to some european butter imports (not at the cheese counter).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Madrid

      butter turns rancid quickly; you should use what you need and store it in the coolest place in the refrigerator. Also, if the butter does not turn over quickly; that can be a problem. I buy mine from Whole Foods/River Street. Kates. Pulgra are fine; I do not think that you need to buy an import which has even more shelf time to become stale.

      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

        I put it in the freezer as soon as I buy it....and just take out what I need to defrost when I need it. The crucial issue for some baking recipes is % butterfat. I've tried it; it does make a difference. Lower butterfat just oozed out.

    2. I agree with Plugra, and also like Kate's of Maine very much. You can get it as most Shaw's. Kerry Gold is sold at TJs, and is Irish butter so might be more in line with European butters. Cultured butter from Vermont Creamery is outstanding for eating on bread, although I am not sure how it would perform in the baked goods you are making (also VERY expensive, while Plugra, Kerry Gold and Kate's are less so).

      9 Replies
      1. re: Science Chick

        you are probably looking for 85% butterfat and of course unsalted, My SO made the mistake of purchasing some Icelandic butter at whole foods, with the regular butter in the dairy cabinet. Doesn't list a butterfat % but behaved like land of lakes unsalted....didn't work in the Anson Mills recipe I was using though I thought the taste was fine.

        I love the taste of Kate's but don't know the butterfat %...they are great if you call them...I called with a buttermilk question once and the guy was very helpful. Their "real" buttermilk is fabulous....

        1. re: Madrid

          Kate's, Land-o-Lakes and Plugra:
          11g fat/14g serving = 78.5 % milkfat

          Kerry Gold is 12g/14g = 85.7 % milkfat
          Vermont Creamery lists theirs as 86% milkfat

          I've never had an issue with the Kerry Gold from TJs, which I frequently eat on toast. Very fresh. The turnover there is pretty quick, I think, although it is true that it is hard to know how old it is when it hits the shelf.

        2. re: Science Chick

          At Christmas, Vermont Creamery made a special maple-sea salt butter for WHole Foods. It was delicious, with that little bit of crunch, and eliminated the need for maple syrup on pancakes and waffles for holiday breakfasts.

          1. re: Science Chick

            Vermont Creamery Butter is 87% butterfat, and comes in 8 ounce logs unsalted. Your baked good won't believe what hit them.

            1. re: galleygirl

              Any thoughts on President butter from France? My Shaw's (Waltham) carries that one too....

              1. re: galleygirl

                I have spoken to the local distributor for Vermont Creamery and they do not recommend their butter for cookies as the high butter content produces a cookie that is too crisp. I am not sure about other baked goods. About 2 years ago, they were working on a European style butter which would be better for baking, such as Plugra or Cabot 83 but I am not sure if they ever came out with one.

                1. re: bakerboyz

                  Actually, if you do butter by weight, this is not a problem. Which distributor did you speak to? That's pretty bizarre.The VBCC rep in New England is a former pastry chef, so I guess I'd go with her opinion, myself.

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    FYI, there are about 4 local distributors for VBCC cultured butter in the area, and that's just the big ones...Got to the source for info...

                2. re: galleygirl

                  +1 on the Vermont Creamery logs from WF.

              2. I find that the best, most affordable butter for baking is
                Cabot 83, it is available in individual pounds or by the case at Restaurant Depot. Plugra is also excellent but a bit more expensive and also available at RD. Both Cabot 83 and Plugra are "European Style" butters; they have a higher butter content then the normal butter available in the supermarket. The butter made by Vermont Creamery is a great butter but not for baking as the butter content is too high.

                1. try jana valley butter, as well. not 100% sure but i think i have seen it at whole foods.

                  1. I lean toward Kerrygold for cooking and Kate's for spreading two inches thick on good toast. Okay, one inch think.